Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, UK’s Boris Johnson and Bangladesh’s Sheikh Hasina, among other world leaders, extended their greetings to India on Republic Day

NEW DELHI: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina were among the world leaders who greeted the Indian government on Republic Day and pledged to strengthen bilateral ties and cooperation in diverse areas.

In a brief video message, Morrison noted that India’s Republic Day celebrations coincided with Australia Day and said that the journeys of the two nations have been very different but “we do share much in common, in particular, a common road ahead”.

He said the two sides have a shared vision for “an open and resilient and free Indo-Pacific region”, and are partners on many fronts, working together to “secure peace and freedom for our world and our region”.

Morrison added: “We share a wonderful friendship between the Australian and Indian peoples. We join with you in celebrating democracy today, India’s and ours too, in celebrating the fantastic contribution of people with Indian heritage right here in Australia and all around the world.”

Johnson said in a special message that the UK and India are “tied by deep bonds that span through the generations and across some of the greatest modern day challenges we have faced”.

While sending his best wishes to the people of India and to all British Indians in the UK, Johnson spoke of the UK’s plans to forge stronger ties in future.

He said: “As two diverse democracies, I am proud of our strong friendship, demonstrated by the launch of free trade negotiations this month and our partnership manufacturing the Oxford-Astra Zeneca vaccine. I look forward to fortifying those bonds as we bring our ambitions, people and economies together to prosper for the next 75 years and beyond.”

In a message sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Hasina referred to the special relationship between India and Bangladesh and said: “The unique ties of close friendship, cooperation and trust between our two countries have flourished and grown from strength to strength in recent years. Many new frontiers of cooperation alongside all traditional areas have been identified, particularly during the Covid-l9 pandemic.”

Extending her warmest wishes and heartiest felicitations to the people of India, Hasina said 2021 was a historic year for bilateral relations as it was marked by celebrations of “epochal events” and engagements at the highest levels. She recalled Modi’s visit to Dhaka in March 2021 to join celebrations marking the golden jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence, the birth centenary of the father of the nation, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and 50 years of diplomatic ties.

“I take the opportunity to recall with gratitude the support rendered by the Government and the People of India during our Liberation War in 1971 that set the foundation of our unique relationship. The joint celebration of ‘Moitri Dibosh’ across the globe, held on 6th December, the day when India recognised Bangladesh as a sovereign and independent state in 1971, projected this special relationship,” she added.

Bangladesh looks forward to working with India “in the next fifty years and beyond towards realising the shared vision of building a peaceful and prosperous region”, Hasina said.

Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid also sent a message of greetings to his Indian counterpart Ram Nath Kovind, saying his country’s “unique relationship with India is rooted in our shared history, culture and tradition”.

In a brief video message, Maldivian foreign minister Abdulla Shahid sent his greetings to the Indian people and said: “For 73 years, the Constitution of India has provided a framework of governance and guaranteed rights to over a billion people comprising the world’s largest democracy. This monumental achievement provides inspiration and hope to countries all over the world undertaking their own democratic journeys.”

The strong partnership between India and the Maldives is rooted in long-standing historical ties and has been strengthened through bilateral cooperation, and the many gestures of goodwill, humanitarian aid and friendship provided by India is a “true testament to the special partnership between the Maldives and India”, he said.

Shahid added: “The government of the Maldives appreciates India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy and we will continue to uphold an ‘India First’ policy, which has worked to the mutual benefit of both our countries.”